wisdom

Happy Survival: The Truth About Life After Trauma.

People run from life in many ways.

We can want a hug so desperately and yet recoil from it. We can crave love more than anything and yet build fortresses to keep it away.

There’s this idea that the more bridges we burn, the harder it will be to go back to the things that caused us pain. Sometimes, that is true, but, at the same time, we keep looking for that place where we belong, and, in some situations, trying almost too hard to fit in, until we accept, with a great deal of shame, that we need to move on.

Reaching out to people is overwhelming and terrifying, but we try it, and when we feel unheard, we vanish again. So many goodbyes — until we don’t want to do the relationship thing anymore or the intimacy thing or ask anyone for help or love or whatever the hell we need. Intimacy doesn’t seem worth any of that, and we lose interest.

We shut down, close our doors for business, and thrive in our safe, predictable worlds.

We wonder if we are crazy, but people tell us only sane people question their sanity. Sometimes we think we’re monsters, but we come to learn that monsters feel no guilt, no shame, and no love. We do love, from a distance, and we absorb the world’s pain.

In my twenties and beyond, I kept changing my name, my hair color, my address, my phone number, my job — you name it. It was as if I couldn’t run fast enough, couldn’t hide in a safe enough place. Without realizing it, I was running away from the trauma of childhood and teen years.

At some point in the healing process, something tells you that you don’t need to hide anymore. You don’t need to run, so you try not to. What’s unsettling is how far you can come in your healing and still get thrown back there in a heartbeat.

Progress can seem slow, but it keeps happening. I’m not a patient person, but I’ve learned to be patient about healing. I’ve had to, and I love healing because I’ve reaped its rewards. Often, I look back and ask myself, “How did I survive, being such an idiot for most of my life?” That may seem harsh, but in light of how far I’ve come, it makes sense.

We can’t fix what we don’t know is broken. We can’t benefit from learning the truth about ourselves until we feel safe in rejecting the lies.

As survivors, we want this healing for everyone while needing to learn, too, that people are only ready when they’re ready. And it’s painful when we love people who need desperately to heal but remain trapped in their fear. Sometimes we wish we could absorb every bit of their agony, even it means holding on to all of it ourselves because we know we can handle it. We have.

We can’t get stuck in that inability to forgive either. It’s understandable because we witness so much unnecessary cruelty toward ourselves and others, and we don’t know what to do with that.

For instance, how do you come to terms with the fact that someone willfully tried to destroy another person, or that person’s reputation, or his or her life, that they did everything in their power to annihilate another human being?

What I realized, quite a long time ago, is that revenge and punishment are not up to me. Divine retribution happens without the least bit of my help — no matter how we interpret divinity and even if we are divinity in the sense that we represent it in the universe. It works that way because we can’t destroy people without destroying ourselves.

If it’s destruction we want, it’s destruction we’ll get, and it’s never one-sided.

A better solution is to keep following our path and goals and let go of the burdens people give us to hold. The weight comes from feelings of not belonging or being worthy and accepted as we are. It comes from others mischaracterizing us or our actions to suit their agendas and punishing us for not being who they need us to be, not wanting what they require us to want.

We have to find our own happily ever after. It’s undoubtedly not the same for everyone, and that’s another place we can get stuck — wanting what we don’t have and realizing it’s not even what we want but what we think we’re supposed to want and have.

Most people want to find that special someone, get that dream house and job. From the time I was eight years old, what I wanted was different — maybe, in some ways, the opposite of what everyone else wanted. It took me a while to realize that I have everything I’d ever wanted or needed in my life and, while I may have moments of feeling sad for another or sad for the world, I am happy.

One thing I’ve always known is to never give up. It does get better, a little at a time, but it gets so much better. Our survival not only gives hope to others, but sharing our experiences allows us to help in their healing. We help each other, yes, and we give each other the love that’s been so hard for us to ask for or accept.

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Kyrian Lyndon is the author of Shattering Truths, the first book in her Deadly Veils series. She has also published two poetry collections, A Dark Rose Blooms, and Remnants of Severed Chains. Kyrian began writing short stories and fairy tales when she was just eight years old. In her adolescence, she moved on to poetry. At 16, while working as an editor for her high school newspaper, she wrote her first novel, and then completed two more novels at the ages of 19 and 25.  Kyrian is forthcoming about being a person with many years of recovery, as well as a trauma survivor. Throughout her journeys, she has expressed her thoughts through poetry, embracing every challenge to triumph over adversity. In her conviction that learning, growing, healing, and evolving is a never-ending process, she remains as grateful for the dark days as she is for every flicker of hope and light. Her passion for awareness advocacy and sharing insight motivates her to entertain in ways that provoke, enrich, and inspire. Born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, Kyrian was the middle of three daughters born to immigrants — her father from Campochiaro, Italy; her mother from Havana, Cuba.

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